Chandigarh, January 17
Justice supply mechanism in Punjab and Haryana has plunged into disaster. Greater than 450 officers/officers, together with 64 Judges within the subordinate judiciary, have examined constructive for Covid within the two states and the excessive courtroom within the Omicron-driven third wave.
Accessible info suggests over 200 courtroom staffers and 50 judicial officers have examined constructive in Punjab. In Haryana, the state of affairs is grim with almost 70 staffers and 14 judicial officers down with Covid. A minimum of 115 officers and officers of the Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom have caught the virus up to now.
The state of affairs may have been worse however for well timed motion of switching over to restrictive functioning mode by the excessive courtroom Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and different Judges for itself and the brand new pointers for the subordinate judiciary.
It’s believed each excessive courtroom and the PGI have the “heaviest footfall” within the metropolis. The state of affairs is even now being carefully monitored by a particular committee headed by Justice Ajay Tewari, which holds conferences on a weekly foundation with the Bar members, amongst others, earlier than submitting its suggestions to the Chief Justice
Amidst apprehensions of a 3rd wave, the excessive courtroom ordered digital hearings a fortnight in the past. An order issued by the excessive courtroom on January 3 made it clear that the choice was taken following a sudden surge in Covid-19 circumstances in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The order adopted the advice of the “particular committee” in session with the Further Solicitor-Normal, Punjab and Haryana Advocates-Normal, UT senior standing counsel, and public prosecutor. The order specified that listening to of the circumstances within the excessive courtroom can be held by way of digital mode/videoconferencing from January 5 and the current system of submitting, itemizing, and mentioning of circumstances would proceed as such.
The excessive courtroom had initially shifted to the digital mode of listening to in March 2020. Restricted bodily listening to was ordered to be resumed from February 8, 2021, but it surely needed to be suspended because the second wave took in its grip Excessive Courtroom Judges, judicial officers within the subordinate judiciary, advocates, and the employees. The excessive courtroom was compelled to return to restrictive performing from April 19, final yr.
Following a “huge surge” in circumstances, the functioning needed to be restricted farther from April 28, final yr. However all Benches resumed functioning by way of the digital mode from July 28, final yr, with the discount within the severity of the second wave. The excessive courtroom determined to partially resume bodily listening to of circumstances from September 6, final yr. The variety of Benches listening to circumstances bodily elevated steadily.